An IT fair survival guide

Alright, I’m back. Took longer than I expected, but Jer’s friends kept me entertained. =) Although I felt bad having them wait around for me (thanks guys!). Did some major shopping, and I’m quite pleased with what I got. The deals were decent, as always, and if you’re in the market for a digital camera, the IT Show’s a good place to start. Lots of other stuff as well – computers, peripherals, accessories, etc. Definitely worth a visit if you’re thinking of making an IT-related purchase.

Oh, we saw this really cool 3D printer! I’m not sure how it works, but apparently it makes 3D (polymer, I think it was) copies of the object you place in it. How cool is that?? Jer got a flyer with more info on it, so maybe he’ll have more insight as to how it functions.

Anyhow. Being a “veteran” visitor to IT fairs (of which we have an average of 4 a year), I wanted to post a quick survival guide on how to make the most of your visit to an IT fair without getting crushed to pieces. I was going to post this before I went for the Show, but didn’t have enough time, so here goes:

1. Wear sensible, comfortable (covered) shoes! I’ve gone in flip-flops before and that was a very bad idea, particularly on the weekend…my poor toes were beyond trampled by the time I’d high-tailed it out of there.

2. Bring a bag, preferably one that keeps your hands free – you can dump all the flyers you want to keep in it, not to mention your smaller purchases, like memory cards and what-not. Beats lugging multiple plastic bags around.

3. Do your research – sometimes you get caught up in the buying frenzy and throw your money around, only to return home to realize that you paid more than you should have. Big(ger) ticket items are generally cheaper at these fairs, but at least know what you’re getting into.

4. Know your limits – set a budget before you step foot into any fair! It’s easy to get tempted when you’re there, and you’ll feel the pain immensely when you step out of the buying fog.

5. Bring cash or your NETS card – because many vendors don’t take credit cards, and worse still, some of them tack on a surcharge if you use a credit card. Having said that though, some credit card companies have promotional tie-ins with certain companies (which can score you freebies), so it’s good to keep a look-out for those when you get there.

6. Save even more money – Glance through the special fair inserts that usually come with the Straits Times, as some vendors have clip-out discount coupons with their ads. I’ve noticed a couple of student discounts for various products as well.

7. Try to avoid peak periods – that would be anytime during lunch, after office hours, as well as afternoons and evenings on the weekend. The place gets packed, and it’s not much fun if you don’t like getting crushed.

8. Closing time gets you the best deals – an hour or so before the fair wraps up (i.e. Sunday night around 7 or 8), vendors start throwing in freebies and slashing prices so as to avoid carting back all their stock. It’s the best time to get great deals if you can afford the trip there, but be warned that not everything might be available by them.

9. Take public transport – parking’s a pain at Suntec (and the Expo, where some of the fairs are held as well), particularly during peak hours. Take the MRT or a bus, and if you’re buying anything big, call a cab for your ride home.

That’s all I can think of for now…if anything else comes to mind, I’ll add it to the list. Feel free to share any tips you guys might have!

Have fun at the IT Show! =)

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